Arizona CapitolOn September 12, the AHPA President, Vice President and Lobbyist attended a meeting with the Director of the Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting, John Arnold.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the budget submitted by the agency for FY 2015, which includes a request for a 4% across the board pay increase for DPS employees.  While support was expressed for the Department’s request, the AHPA also advocated a pay plan similar to what the agency had requested last year, which was a multi-year increase to bring employees closer to market.  During the meeting, Mr. Arnold requested the AHPA submit a reasonable pay proposal to his office for consideration.

The “AHPA Competitiveness Pay Package” was submitted to John Arnold on September 26.  Staff members from the Governor’s office were also provided a copy of the plan.  As you read through the plan, which is attached, you will notice that AHPA is seeking appropriations to bring employees to within a reasonable 10% of market.  The 3 year-10% “AHPA Competitiveness Pay Package” proposal moves DPS toward market and salary competitiveness and is a more conservative approach than pay proposals in previous years giving it a more likely chance of success in the state’s budgeting process.

Our message is clear:  competitive pay is the number one priority for AHPA and will continue to be throughout the legislative session.

AHPA continues efforts under its motto “Dedicated to DPS Employees”

AHPA LogoAHPA’s DPS Competitiveness Pay Package Response

The Arizona Highway Patrol Association would like to submit for consideration the “DPS Competitiveness Pay Package” to be included in the FY 2014-2015 budget.  The Arizona Department of Public Safety is experiencing a significant gap between what DPS employees are paid as compared to other Arizona law enforcement agencies and relevant private employers throughout the state.  According to the DPS 2013 Pay Study (see attachment), sworn employees are behind market by 23.3% on average and civilian employees lag behind an average 22.6%.  The impact of not addressing a competitive pay package for DPS employees will impact the department’s ability to recruit and retain the most highly qualified employees who are entrusted to protect and serve the citizens of Arizona.  The department is also in a crucial period of hiring our first new officers since a hiring freeze was implemented in the fall of 2008.  DPS is just beginning to replace the 169 officers we have lost since FY 2008 and plan for future retirements and separations in order to have an adequate number of sworn officers to fulfill the duties and mission of DPS.

DPS sworn employees have not received a pay increase since FY 2009, civilian employees have not received a pay increase since 2008 and all DPS employees had their pay reduced in FY 2011 by 2.75% with the elimination of performance pay.  Civilian positions, such as criminalists and dispatchers, are behind market by 15.2% for entry level pay and 24.6% for maximum pay levels.  Civilian supervisor positions have also fallen behind, such as evidence or police communications supervisors, and lag behind market at 16.6% for entry level pay and 23.6% for maximum pay levels (see attachment regarding civilian pay study).  Sworn employees have also been impacted.  Outlined below are a few examples of where DPS ranks among other law enforcement agencies with regard to pay for various sworn employees.  The full sworn officer market study looked at 43 law enforcement agencies across Arizona (see the AHPA’s pay study here:

  • DPS entry level Officer pay ranks 25th out of 43 law enforcement agencies.
  • DPS entry level Sergeant pay ranks 15th out of 43 law enforcement agencies.
  • DPS Captain pay ranks 21st out of 35 law enforcement agencies.
  • DPS Major pay ranks 20th out of 37 law enforcement agencies.

Our proposal is outlined below and would be a total cost of $38.1 million over a 3 year period.  In applying the funds requested, we propose that all DPS employees receive a 2.75% pay increase in FY 2014-2015 to bring them back to the salary level prior to the FY 2011 salary reduction.  The 2.75% increase for all DPS employees is $4.5 million.  The remaining $33.6 million would be divided over 3 years in lump sum payments ($8.2 million in FY 2014-15, $12.7 million in FY 2015-16 and $12.7 million in 2016-17) to DPS to address competitiveness pay issues in sworn and civilian job classifications.  The goal of the lump sum funding would be to bring each job classification within 10% of market by the end of FY 2016-2017.  AHPA is taking a more conservative budgetary impact approach.  The requested $38.1 million over 3 years does not include adjustments for inflation or market salary changes.  As a result the application of the lump sums over 3 years will not bring DPS employees to the top of market, but somewhere near 10% of market.

We would further recommend that DPS be required to submit its “DPS Competitiveness Pay Package” plan outlining application of the lump sum payments to both OSPB and JLBC by October 1, 2014, to ensure that the intent of the pay adjustment is being met.

The Arizona Highway Patrol Association believes that now is the time to act.  By not addressing competitive pay issues at DPS, we will find ourselves in a situation where DPS is losing more highly trained and qualified employees to other law enforcement agencies and cannot hire the best and the brightest to be part of the state’s police agency.   By implementing this proposal, DPS would be close to within 10% of market with other law enforcement agencies with regard to pay and would make DPS more competitive and, once again, one of the more sought after, premier law enforcement agencies in Arizona.

DPS Competitiveness Pay Package

Total Cost over 3 Years:

Sworn Officer Pay Adjustment        $27.3M

Civilian Employee Pay Adjustment    10.8M

Total Cost of Adjustment in Pay  $38.1M

FY 2014-2015 Pay Adjustment

2.75% Pay Adjustment                     $ 4.5M

Lump Sum Pay Adjustment                  8.2M

Total Cost of Adjustment in Pay      $12.7M

FY 2015-2016 Pay Adjustment

Lump Sum Pay Adjustment              $12.7M

FY 2016-2017 Pay Adjustment

Lump Sum Pay Adjustment              $12.7M

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